The churchyard is a gift to Chesterton from the 12th century, though there have been two extensions in recent times. It is a priceless treasure not only because it bears witness to a simpler age when Chesterton was a country village, nor for the better reason that it is the last resting place of the bodies of many loved ones, but supremely because it is ground consecrated to the glory of God. As God’s Acre its rightful place is at the head of [all] acres, and its turf should be a model for the best kept garden in Chesterton. While it should impress the observer with its aspect of peace and quiet it must constantly witness to the Church’s hope of a joyful resurrection. Springing grass and flowers are its best testimony to this hope.
This description of St Andrew’s Churchyard was written sometime in the last century but holds for our time now, though to be ‘a model for the best kept garden’ is quite something to live up to as there are many beautifully kept gardens in Chesterton! But what our churchyard volunteers, led by Maggie Fernie, share with the keenest of local gardeners is their love and care for the ‘turf’ they tend, and their dedication to look after it as a ‘priceless treasure’. In the case of our churchyard, the team do this on everyone’s behalf: for the people of Chesterton and especially for the families of all those who are buried or commemorated here at St Andrew’s.
The churchyard group are always happy for new volunteers to join them. If you like fresh air, ‘hands on’ work, and good company (socially distanced in recent times), do consider coming along to one of the Saturday churchyard working parties that are held monthly through most of the year.
As it is now a ‘closed churchyard’ (no longer used for burials, only interment of ashes), Cambridge City Council have responsibility for the churchyard’s maintenance and the churchyard group support them in this. You can read Maggie’s Chesterton News account of work in the churchyard and the management plans being developed in partnership with the Council.
The churchyard is a designated City Wildlife Site and its biodiversity is to be protected and promoted. We will be providing more information about the wildlife in the churchyard and what can be seen season by season in due course.
Other news . . .
‘Find a Grave’ project
Mary Pountain has undertaken the task of adding to the ‘Find a Grave’ records for the churchyard. This has begun with compiling a database of graves already recorded on the site (www.findagrave.com) and checking which have been photographed. The plan now is take photographs of those missing from the ‘Find a Grave’ online record. The next step will be to compare this list with the records of the gravestones that we already have (due to the amazing work done by Bridget and David Trump). We can then start to add photographs of more gravestones to the site. There will be opportunities to get involved, and Mary will provide more information about the plans in due course – please keep an eye on the news section of this website.
Cambridge Hedgehogs project
Next spring we hope to get going at full speed on our hedgehogs project. Many of the plans had to be put on hold this year. However, drinking bowls have been put down and wood piles have been created for ground cover around the edges of the churchyard, and there is also an insect hotel!